With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Kurt Rheinheimer’s fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, from Redbook to Michigan Quarterly Review. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia, and is the editor of Blue Ridge Country magazine. He is also a lifelong, and apparently incurable, Baltimore Orioles fan.
This was early in the morning, the day after Thanksgiving. My grandfather wore a tan cotton jacket and an old-man’s hat almost the same color. He sat at the wheel of a 1948 Ford he had bought and painted himself. You could look at the lime-cream color from twenty feet away and see the brush marks. He turned the key, glancing at me with the beginning of a smile and with a squint — against Kool smoke — that looked like a wink.
The package is wrapped in brown paper and it is soft, like somebody’s laundry coming back. It was delivered to the Admin building by the UPS, with Turley’s name on the address label. Sometimes Turley used to get a new pair of handle grips through the UPS, with his name on the label, but this is the first package he has gotten since the middle of the winter, when Mr. Parker died.
Coggins walked through an afternoon fog as soft and gray-white as his own hair. He had walked a half mile or so nearly every day for twenty years — at first on the advice of a doctor who had repaired his heart, and then later because it became his deepest habit, and broke the day.